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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Message from Mike Cox

Dear Friends,

After months of further inaction by President Obama and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we're going to court for round two against Asian carp.

Today my office filed a new lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chicago water authorities to take emergency action to block Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan.

The states of Ohio, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have all joined Michigan in this new legal effort to fight Asian carp and accelerate efforts to develop a permanent solution to protect the Great Lakes.

While you know the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take our case, they did not dismiss the merits of our case.

So today, we are suing the Obama administration and the Army Corps of Engineers, who are charged with protecting public resources and overseeing the management of the Chicago Area Waterway System in partnership with local water authorities in the Illinois federal court.

Asian Carp Found: We Need Emergency Action NOW

Our worst fears came true after Illinois authorities announced on June 22nd that a Bighead Asian carp was found in Lake Calumet, within striking distance of Lake Michigan. And when you find one carp, the experts say there are more nearby.

Stunningly, despite the mounting evidence, the Army Corps and Chicago authorities refused to temporarily close the O'Brien and Chicago locks. They've failed the apply fish poison in every location that tested positive for Asian carp eDNA. They've failed to comprehensively address all pathways linking Lake Michigan with carp-infested Illinois waterways. And they have failed to sufficiently accelerate the permanent separation of the Great Lakes Basin from the carp-infested Chicago Area Waterway System.

With every day that passes without serious action, the health of the Great Lakes and our $7 billion commercial and recreational fishing industries remain at risk. We cannot sacrifice thousands of jobs.

Inaction Won't Be Tolerated

For the past several months, the Army Corps has maintained its vocal commitment to combating Asian carp. The problem is, when you drill down past the rhetoric, all you'll find are half-hearted, insufficient attempts to confront the Asian carp invasion.

Because of their lack of urgency and inadequate measures - like poisoning canals in only a few spots - we have already faced Asian carp swimming their way toward Lake Michigan.

In today's lawsuit, we are calling on the Army Corps to step up and take all available efforts to block Asian carp passage in the waterways linked to Lake Michigan.

We're calling for commonsense emergency measures like block nets, fish poison where Asian carp eDNA has been detected, mesh screens on all sluice gates and temporary closures of the O'Brien and Chicago locks, except as needed for public health and safety.

Keep Up the Fight!

Thank you for all you have done to support our efforts to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. The fight is not yet over, and the more supporters we have on our side to build a public outcry, the better.

Keep in mind that President Obama can order the Army Corps to act on these commonsense steps any time. He doesn't need a court to tell him to do it. But until he acts, I pledge to fight, along with several Great Lakes attorneys general and our allies in Congress, to force the Corps to act.

Please forward this email to your friends, family and neighbors and urge them to call the President to demand action right away. Be sure to forward this email to at least five friends today!

If you haven't joined the conversation on Facebook, please sign on to our page today. Every day citizens are driving the conversation about why they love the Great Lakes and what they've done to protect them.


Mike Cox
Attorney General

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